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AIJAC statement on passage of “Reasonableness” bill in Israel, amidst judicial reforms controversy

Jul 25, 2023 | AIJAC staff

One of many anti-judicial reform protests in Jerusalem (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
One of many anti-judicial reform protests in Jerusalem (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) expressed its profound concern about the passing of the judicial reform’s reasonableness bill in Israel’s Knesset overnight. The bill will prevent Israel’s Supreme Court from overturning administrative decisions by the Government, the Prime Minister or ministers on the basis that they are unreasonable.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “It is disappointing that this controversial bill, which makes such fundamental changes to the very nature of Israel’s democracy, was passed in such a partisan, hasty and divisive manner.

“While there are valid arguments for the reasonableness doctrine to be codified and perhaps limited, as there may be  to adopt other aspects of some of the proposed legal reforms, this should only be done through sincere, respectful negotiations, compromise and genuine consensus. These reforms could be undertaken in a way that strengthens Israeli democracy and brings the country together, but they also have the capacity to cause great damage to Israel’s cohesion and harmony.

“It is important that the judicial reforms strike the right balance between allowing democratically elected governments to implement their mandates and preserving the checks and balances that are so important for maintaining the integrity and strength of Israel’s liberal democracy.

“We urge both the Israeli Government and the Opposition to modify their stances and come together in a spirit of civility, mutual respect, goodwill and patriotism, and genuinely try to reach a consensus position on both this item and other elements in the current judicial reform proposals,” Dr Rubenstein concluded.

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